BOZEMAN — Bozeman's Kaylie Monforton took home first place in two events at the Taekwondo National Championships in Denver last weekend.
“She’s got a lot of natural talent," said Stuart Cunningham, who runs Cunningham's Martial Arts. "She works extremely hard, she’s very dedicated. What’s the best way to get better at something? Practice, practice practice, she always does.”
The freshman at Bozeman Gallatin High has been doing taekwondo since she was 8 years old.
“Taekwondo is a great way to express yourself," said Monforton. "The community is very loving obviously. Everybody is just super supportive.”
This year, she competed in the national championships down in Denver. However, due to COVID-19 it was a little different -- she had to compete over Zoom.
“It was nice because I was home. Traveling can make me anxious at times," Monforton said. "It was very nice because I had a whole bunch of people supporting me here at home, and you just pretend like the camera isn’t even there.”
Even over the internet, Monforton took home first place in weapons and weapons forms for the 12-16 age group utilizing her staff.
“It almost doesn’t even feel real," said the champion.
She didn’t just win. She was perfect and nearly perfect in the events she won.
“If you win over the internet, you did pretty well," said Cunningham. "There’s a lot things for judges that’s hard to see and hear when you’re not in person.”
Master Cunnigham is proud of her wins, but even more for who she is as human being
“I’m far more proud of who she is as a human being," he said. "She's a good student, she’s a good person. That’s what I’m most proud of."
Monforton is humble, and just to be able to participate and teach people her skills is a privilege.
“It’s a privilege to be able to work next to all these people and be able to show people something I’m super passionate about,” said Monforton.